Contact Centers are a cornerstone of customer service, enabling businesses of all sizes to manage customer interactions. They serve as a bridge between customer and company, to facilitate the resolution of customers’ needs. The type of contact center platform a company chooses to perform this service has an impact on the experience for customer, agent and the business, alike.
The shift towards cloud-based services over the last couple of decades has been a game changer for contact centers. Moving contact center platforms to the cloud has improved the agility of businesses to meet the changing demands and expectations of consumers. Enter Contact Centers as a Service (CCaaS), a cloud-based, omnichannel contact center platform. CCaaS has revolutionized the way businesses provide customer service and has revealed its true power and value in the wake of the global pandemic.
These last few years have put significant pressure on businesses, not just to provide omnichannel contact center solutions to customers, but also to adjust to a significant shift to work from home. The ability to quickly set up and deploy location agnostic contact center solutions means a seamless integration of a new infrastructure that can support the shifting needs and expectations of businesses, agents and customers. These expectations will not change in the next normal.
The world of customer experience and contact center platform capabilities is forever changed and will continue to evolve as more businesses understand how they can harness the power of CCaaS to improve customer service and ultimately, their bottom line.
What to look for in an outsourced contact center solution:
Time is money. Time wasted on complicated service solution integration ultimately hurts the bottom line. When contact center outsourcing makes sense for your business, it is important to ensure that the chosen platform can be easily integrated with existing systems so that there is minimal disruption to business operations. Ensuring that the contact center platform is scalable can help to overcome some of the challenges that are faced by contact centers. For example, having the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and contact center software connected to each other enables data to be easily transferred between to the two systems, empowering agents to offer more context driven support.
Successful businesses need to evolve and adjust to different stages of growth as well as external changes. It is important to make sure that the platform can be adjusted to accommodate changes in business processes.
When selecting the right platform for your business, make sure that it is adaptable to changes in business processes. This can help to ensure that the platform can keep up with the ever-changing needs of the business. Business processes, such as payroll and hiring, are just a couple of examples of functions within an organization that are required for the proper overall management of the business.
Agents need to be properly trained on how to use the platform so that they can get the most out of its features. Contact Center Platforms, no matter the type, are not naturally intuitive and often require explicit direction how to effectively use and manage the platform.
By ensuring that agents are properly onboarded with the CCaaS platform, and trained on how to use it, businesses can help minimize the amount of training that is needed and make it easier for agents to get up and running.
Moving a contact center to the cloud offers a host of valuable benefits to a business. Contact center outsourcing services empower enterprise level businesses to leverage best in class technology, improve their operational efficiency and scale as needed.
By giving enterprises the opportunity to easily connect with customers across multiple channels, they can offer a consistent quality of service and deliver personalized experience during each interaction.
The pandemic has remarkably shifted the workforce to be more distributed and hybrid than ever before. In order to meet the needs of this new reality of service delivery, contact center technologies have had no choice but to evolve.
Throughout this article, we will be exploring the many facets that combine to make CCaaS the valuable business tool it is. But before we get there, it’s important to understand the three key benefits of CCaaS.
For businesses who are focused on offering the best quality customer service experience, CCaaS offers a host of tools without the need for significant capital expenditure on hardware to access the platform. With a CCaaS solution, you pay only for what you use and the list from which you can choose is long.
Its cloud-based technology is flexible, which enables it to easily integrate advances in technology and easily incorporates digital solutions and different APIs.
One of the major benefits of CCaaS is the built-in redundancy and technology backup that exists on the cloud-based platform. Having increased uptime means less time trouble shooting to get back online, and less aggravation of staff and customers waiting for full functionality to resume. Finally, the fact that CCaaS is a subscription-based platform means that a company’s IT team is not responsible for troubleshooting and system maintenance, freeing them to focus on other important job functions.
Workforce management (WFM) is becoming increasingly complex as business needs and employee needs shift and change with changes in both environmental factors and technological advances. Especially and particularly in the wake of the global pandemic, businesses have been forced to pivot to new business models – Work from home/remote, hybrid models, GIG CX (part-time), etc. This has put significant pressure and expectation on businesses to enable and engage agents in all of these new workplace models. CCaaS can scale up and down quickly and with ease and is easily deployed to facilitate remote working without any significant backend redesign.
The technology stack of CCaaS is comprised of five key components: These layers all work together to create a solution that is versatile and uniquely suited to individual business needs.
Like all new technologies, making sure the one you have selected will meet your specific needs and goals is the key to selecting the best contact center solution for your business. To do that, it’s important to do some internal business soul searching as well as a solid identification of what your ultimate needs and goals truly are. To do that, consider:
When businesses have considered these factors, they can then begin to evaluate the different CCaaS solutions that are available.
Moving from a non-cloud-based platform to CCaaS is a big, but good decision for enterprise businesses. That said, there are a lot of considerations before you get to the point that you’re going to deploy your upgraded contact center.
CCaaS provides you with the ability to use a host of omnichannel avenues to allow your customer to reach you. Do you, can you and should you provide outreach opportunities via chat, messaging, social media, email and chatbots? Audit your existing offerings and consider what other opportunities you can offer your customers to reach your business.
An internal review needs to be conducted to consider current and future business needs. Consider the current state technology adoption, desired changes, performance levels and staffing models. Look at the functions of people who will be interacting with the technologies and the back-office functions that should be linked in the transformation effort to improve overall customer experience.
Automation has come a long way in recent years. The ability to automate interactions is an added value to both you and your customers, triaging needs that can be easily resolved by bots, freeing up agents to handle more complex issues.
Advancements in artificial intelligence have made automation even smarter and better able to predict, triage and manage customer service needs. Consider the added benefit of AI to, not only serve customers and relieve pressure on agents, but also to provide valuable, actionable data back to agents and the businesses they serve.
Consider the long-term value of workforce automation (WFO), including quality assurance, contact center resource management and employee performance management. This feature was historically separate from contact center management but can be provided by a single CCaaS provider in addition to the contact center needs.
Mobile contact center solutions enable agents with portable omnichannel solutions, activity logs, predictive and progressive dialers, and real time agent monitoring, which will help with long-term agility as needs change and grow. Consider the value of intelligent automation and analytics, which allows businesses understand agent performance and customer behaviour to get actionable insights, agent desktop automation and process automation in contact center software.
Humans are wonderful but they are not machines and the added expectations of omnichannel contact center solutions require methods to share information across channels. It is important to consider context sharing from one channel to another, and, more importantly, from the virtual agents as they pass off customers to human agents. Make sure there is communication capabilities between all channels and consider how your business plans to manage that vital interrelationship.
Selecting a partner is by far the most important choice you will make when selecting a CCaaS provider. Consider what they offer, their experience, similar implementation history, flexibility to integrate with existing and third-party applications, and post implementation support. Consider:
CCaaS is easily deployed but requires forethought and strategy to roll out. In four steps, a business can go from on-site to on the cloud.
Once you’ve deployed CCaaS and your agents start to reap the benefits of handling more meaningful interactions with customers, the interrelationship of customers and agents will improve, and thus, so will their experiences.
Outsourcing contact centers serves to enhance your customers’ experience when they reach out for support. It allows users to easily connect, across multiple channels, and enjoy consistent, personalized, quality service no matter which route they choose. This means:
CCaaS provides a host of valuable tools and applications that exist to make the lives of human agents easier and their jobs more impactful, specifically:
The future of CCaaS is bright. The software is versatile, cost-effective and easy to use, and businesses of all sizes can benefit from employing it as their contact center platform. That is why CCaaS is quickly becoming the go-to solution for businesses when it comes to customer service.
Expect to see a rise in demand for CCaaS solutions in the coming years. As companies look to cloud solutions for their contact centers, they will want and expect more customization and end-to-end solutions, talent management, AI/ML-based tools, analytics and automation.
There will also be an increasing adoption in other industries. The pandemic has put pressure on the public centre to adopt CCaaS solutions as people demand governments be accessible across multiple platforms. Retail demand will continue also to grow post covid. And institutions in business and finance especially are in competition with companies with web-based origins. As such, they are adopting omnichannel contact center solutions and digitizing core functions to compete.
A surge in strategic partnerships is inevitable, as technology vendors look for forge relationships with vendors whose offerings complement their own. Strategic partnerships will form between CCaaS technology vendors and other 3rd party vendors as the cloud becomes an increasing part of digital transformation deals.
The need for collaboration and interrelationships within the workforce will increase in the coming years, as a distributed and hybrid workforce continues to evolve to be a key component of service delivery. This will result in a more complex digital ecosystem that will need to exist in order to manage the interrelationship of technologies coming together.
Finally, expect a democratization of CCaaS as the ability to offer customization will increase. A wider variety of off-the-shelf solutions will become available as CCaaS evolves, to cater to a host of different use cases across industries. This will lead to more solutions that will be better for smaller businesses, resulting in a lower-price point entry to CCaaS.
Before, businesses had to rely on phone calls to communicate with their customers, they had to manage their customer service operations manually, and had to store their customer data in spreadsheets or databases.
Today, however, a large and growing number of businesses use CCaaS to manage their customer service operations and its presence is expanding into a growing number of countries, suggesting more business are catching on to the value CCaaS provides.
CCaaS, as a preferred contact center platform, performs a vital service that an increasing number of businesses are employing to improve their business operations. By understanding the value and ease of integrating CCaaS as a contact center platform solution, your business will be much better able to provide customers with the service they expect and deserve.